Two kayak instructors scout a rapid on the ACA Instructor Course.
A kayak instructor on an ACA instructor course holds a student's head while teaching him to roll a kayak.
A student on the ACA kayak instructor course presents a lesson plan while kneeling next to the river.

5-Day ACA Kayak Instructor Course and Certification

A hands-on, dynamic course designed for whitewater kayak instructors


5 Days April
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    Ages: 18+

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    Difficulty: Class III Kayaking Skills Required

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    Certification: Whitewater kayak instructor certification through the American Canoe Association

A student on an ACA kayak instructor course practices a t-rescue with a fellow kayaker.

5-Day ACA Kayak Instructor Course

The ACA Kayak Instructor Course is for whitewater kayakers interested in working as professional kayak instructors or simply developing proficiency in kayak teaching techniques. This instructor training course leads to certification as a whitewater kayak instructor by the American Canoe Association, or the ACA. The ACA has created the nation’s premier teaching certification program for kayaking. With more than 40 years of experience, the ACA has developed a specific and proven set of paddle sports’ best practices, inspiring participants to share their expertise and knowledge of kayaking in the safest, most effective way.

This course combines on-water demonstrations and presentations in various environments with discussion sessions on teaching methodology, skill development, and peer feedback. You’ll learn how to reach the most challenging students and maintain a fun and safe environment at all times. Don’t be surprised if you walk away from this 40-hour training having refined your technique and learned new ways to build upon your whitewater kayaking skills.

The course consists of an Instructor Development Workshop (IDW) and an Instructor Certification Exam (ICE). Participants are also be required to:

  • Perform paddling skills and demonstrate skills clearly and consistently
  • Demonstrate effective teaching skills
  • Demonstrate technical knowledge of kayaking
  • Demonstrate proper safety and rescue ability
  • Demonstrate effective group/course management and positive interpersonal skills

ACA Kayak Instructor Course Requirements

  1. Must be at least 18 years old to participate
  2. Be (or become) a member of the ACA and the Safety, Education, and Instruction Committee (SEIC)
  3. Full course completion (attendance, homework, exams, etc.)
  4. Maintain sufficient First-Aid and CPR certifications

Please note that attendance alone will not guarantee certification. Participants must demonstrate skills and pass the ICE to be recognized by the ACA. Dive deeper into your kayaking by learning the methods and techniques the nation’s best instructors use!

Dates & Pricing

2024 ACA Dates:

  • April 12-14, 20-21 (5 days total)

The course will run from 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM all days, with some evening work.

2024 ACA Cost: $625 for certification by ACA. Lunch is not included, but feel free to bring your own. The Wet Planet Café has an assortment of delicious hot and cold sandwiches and other tasty offerings available for purchase.

Requirements: Class III kayaking skills

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